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01/26/09

News Bulletin No 3


POLITICS

•    President Nursultan Nazarbayev on a state visit to the Republic of India
•    Kazakhstan stands firmly with India. Condemns strongly the Mumbai terror attacks

ECONOMY

•    Kazakh KazMunaiGas To Invest $1.7 Billion In Kashagan This Year
•    India Signs Uranium Mining, Supply Agreement With Kazakhstan
•    Kazakhstan plugs into NTPC, Indian power expertise

OTHER NEWS

•    Astana riders welcome Armstrong's long shadow
 

Category: General
Posted by: admin

No 3 January 26, 2009

POLITICS

•    President Nursultan Nazarbayev on a state visit to the Republic of India
•    Kazakhstan stands firmly with India. Condemns strongly the Mumbai terror attacks

ECONOMY

•    Kazakh KazMunaiGas To Invest $1.7 Billion In Kashagan This Year
•    India Signs Uranium Mining, Supply Agreement With Kazakhstan
•    Kazakhstan plugs into NTPC, Indian power expertise

OTHER NEWS

•    Astana riders welcome Armstrong's long shadow


POLITICS

President Nursultan Nazarbayev on a state visit to the Republic of India

Press Service of the President of Kazakhstan

Upon arrival at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Palace of the Indian President, the head of state laid a wreath at the Radzhgat Memorial to Mahatma Gandi. In the book of Guests of Honor President Nazarbayev wrote that memorable ideas of the great son of India on non-violence and peaceful coexistence should be kept in the hearts of the whole humanity and were being vividly implemented in Kazakhstan’s policy.

President Nazarbayev then held talks with Indian President Pratibha Devisingh and Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherdzhi. Following the meetings, a number of documents between Kazakhstan and India had been signed, including a Joint Declaration, bilateral Protocol on Kazakhstan’s Accession to the World Trade Organization, Agreement on Principles of cooperation between National Company KazMunaiGaz JSC and ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd., and Memorandum of Understanding between the National Atomic Company Kazatomprom JSC and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.

President Nazarbayev emphasized that the talks held with the President of India and members of the Indian Government and the documents signed would elevate the Kazakhstan-Indian relations to the level of strategic partnership.

The same day President Nazarbayev participated in a business forum attended by some leading Kazakh and Indian businessmen. President Nazarbayev appealed to the Indian businessmen to invest in Kazakhstan’ economy and said that Kazakhstan can offer some specific projects and proposals to be jointly implemented.

The head of state also presented to the Indian participants two of his books “The Critical Decade” and “The Kazakhstan Way” which had been translated into Hindi for the first time.

President Nazarbayev also met with Vice President Hamid Ansari, the leader of the Indian opposition Lala Krishna Advani, the Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance Sonya Gandi, and a group of leading Indian businessmen.


Kazakhstan stands firmly with India. Condemns strongly the Mumbai terror attacks

The Hindu

NEW DELHI: Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and reiterated the need for intensifying global cooperation in combating international terrorism.

Mr. Nazarbayev also assured that Kazakhstan stood firmly with India in dealing with the scourge of global terrorism. In a joint declaration issued late on Saturday night, the two sides expressed the hope that the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks would be brought to justice at the earliest. Both sides also called for early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism within the U.N. framework.

To this end the signing of the extradition treaty was seen as underlining the commitment of the governments’ law enforcement agencies to develop cooperation and provide required assistance and support to each other.

Mr. Nazarbayev will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations, a gesture he termed as “the recognition of high status of friendly relations between our two nations.” Having elevated the bilateral cooperation to the level of strategic partnership, both sides have created all the conditions for further intensification of our bilateral relations in political, economic and humanitarian spheres, he added.
Immense scope

The visit provided India the opportunity to appreciate Kazakhstan’s support in the meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which allowed New Delhi to resume full civil nuclear cooperation with the international community. Both sides noted that this opened immense possibilities of cooperation in nuclear civil energy sector, including in the mining of uranium. While welcoming the signing of memorandum of understanding between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Kazakh national atomic company Kazatomprom, India and Kazakhstan recommended an early conclusion of an Inter Governmental Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.

Despite having the fourth largest nuclear arsenal following the break-up of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced nuclear weapons and their delivery platforms. It was also instrumental in persuading its neighbours to agree to a regional nuclear weapons free zone which is considered the most comprehensive as compared to similar pacts elsewhere in the world. Yet, unlike Australia and Japan, Kazakhstan strongly supported India at the NSG and by late last year had indicated its willingness to enter into nuclear commerce even though New Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Satisfaction

Both governments expressed satisfaction on the successful completion of negotiations and signing of the agreement between ONGC Mittal Energy and KazMunaiGaz for the Satpayev Block and underlined the need for expeditious conclusion of the contract. New Delhi hoped that the conclusion of the agreement would be the beginning of a long-term mutually beneficial cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

To this end, India has proposed the setting up of a gas-based fertilizer plant and an entrepreneurship development centre in Kazakhstan for which the feasibility studies by Indian agencies would begin immediately. Both sides plan a joint study of common historical heritage and develop the existing sites in both countries to attract tourists.



ECONOMY

Kazakh KazMunaiGas To Invest $1.7 Billion In Kashagan This Year

Dow Jones

Kazakh state oil and gas company KazMunaiGas said it would invest 208 billion tenge ($1.7 billion) in the development of Kashagan oil field this year, while the company's total investment program for 2009 will equal KZT696 billion.

KazMunaiGas, or KMG, said in a statement late Thursday that this year's investment program includes 65 projects.

KMG owns 16.8% in the Kashagan consortium that includes ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM) , ConocoPhillips (COP), Eni SpA (E), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB), Total SA ( TOT) and Inpex Holdings Inc. (1605.TO).

KMG said its consolidated revenues doubled to KZT2.9 trillion in 2008, while its profit totaled KZT318 billion. The company's capital expenditures more than doubled to KZT613 billion in 2008.

KMG said its oil and gas condensate output in 2008 reached 18 million metric tons, a year-on-year rise of 8.2%.


India Signs Uranium Mining, Supply Agreement With Kazakhstan

Bloomberg.com

Kazakhstan, the world’s third largest uranium producer, and India signed an agreement that will enable the South Asian nation to mine and purchase the fuel for its nuclear power plants.

Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan’s state-run uranium miner, and Nuclear Power Corp. of India signed accords covering mining of natural uranium and supply of uranium products to nuclear power plants in India, Mumbai-based Nuclear Power, also owned by the state, said in a faxed statement today.


Kazakhstan plugs into NTPC, Indian power expertise

The Times of India

NEW DELHI: India's first footstep in Kazakhstan's oil industry is likely to lead the country into taking a big leap in the power sector too. In a recognition of Indian expertise, Central Asia's biggest economy has invited state-owned generation utility NTPC to look at setting up new power plants and renovate existing ones in that country.

Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is here as the R-Day guest, on Saturday invited India's biggest generation utility to send a delegation to initiate groundwork for such a venture. Briefing Nazarbayev, top NTPC executives mooted the idea of getting coal from Kazakhstan's vast reserves in exchange for its plants in India.

The NTPC executives were part of an energy delegation that called on Nazarbayev on Saturday evening after Kazakh national oil firm Kazmunaigas signed a heads of agreement assigning 25% stake in the highly prospective Caspian acreage of Satpayev to ONGC-Mittal Energy Ltd, steel tycoon Laxmi Mittal's joint venture with the overseas investment arm of flagship explorer ONGC. The Indian firm will have the option of raising the stake by 10% once oil is discovered.

"Our minister (Murli Deora) assured the president (Nazarbayev) that India will send a delegation of executives from public sector power companies to Kazakhstan (to study the opportunities for working jointly," petroleum secretary R S Pandey told TOI after the talks with Nazarbayev.

Admittedly, it is still early days and the power and external affairs ministries will have to vet the proposal before a delegation sets foot in Kazakhstan. But the direction of Saturday's talks points to the vast scope for Indian power utilities, including transmission monopoly PowerGrid, in setting up new projects and renovating existing ones as well as implementing pollution control measures.

"We need massive investments in our power sector... we have major expansion plans," Aliya Tlenbayeva, managing director of Samruk Energy, the state-run holding firm for power, had told TOI in Astana last week. Kazakhstan has huge coal reserves as also gas. These can easily be used for generating power. No wonder, one of the country's focus areas is to export electricity. Kazakhstan is estimated to account for around 5% of Central and Eastern European regional power generation by 2012 and is exporting some electricity to Russia and is looking at China. These efforts are, however, hamstrung by old plants and distribution networks besides limitations in capacity.

NTPC is close to clinching a deal for setting up a 500 mw coal-fired plant in Sri Lanka, which when completed will be its first overseas plant. It is also in discussion with the Nigerian government for setting up a major gas-fired plant there in return for gas. PowerGrid is laying a transmission line in Afghanistan and has also taken up modernisation consultancy in several other countries.


OTHER NEWS

Astana riders welcome Armstrong's long shadow

International Herald Tribune

For much of the previous hour, Steve Morabito and five of his six Astana teammates had been sitting comfortably in deck chairs, quietly conserving energy as they waited for the start of the third stage of the Tour Down Under.

But that was before Morabito's sixth teammate appeared. Suddenly, the tranquility was shattered, as reporters and cameras and digital recorders squeezed into the tight space between Morabito's chair and the Astana van.

Lance Armstrong had arrived.

"It's O.K.; I like the shade," said Morabito, a Swiss rider, as he peeked playfully through the forest of bodies in front of Armstrong in an attempt to get a look at the man with whom he would soon be racing.

Armstrong's comeback in Australia after more than three years away from cycling is a game-changing event for the sport he once ruled by winning seven consecutive Tours de France. But it has had the biggest day-to-day impact on the men of Astana.

The Spanish veteran José Luis Rubiera even decided to postpone retirement in order to spend one more season with Armstrong.

"When I first heard about him coming back last year at the Tour of Spain, we thought it was a joke, or if not a joke, just another rumor," said Rubiera, a renowned climber who also raced with and for Armstrong from 2001 to 2005.

Johan Bruyneel, Astana's general manager, also did not take Armstrong seriously at first.

"He sent me a message about the comeback, and I said, 'Are you at a party and are you sober?"' Bruyneel recalled. "Because I thought he was drunk. I asked him. But then we started to talk more and more and then I finally said I have to go over there and spend some time with him and see what's really in his mind."

After four days with Armstrong in Austin, Texas, in August, Bruyneel was convinced that Armstrong was serious.

"I saw and felt the desire," said Bruyneel, who was also Armstrong's team director during his seven Tour de France victories with U.S. Postal and then Discovery Channel. "And since then I have no doubt he really cares about it and wants to do all the work and wants to train very hard, and, especially, that he likes to train very hard."

Now they find themselves in something resembling a time warp, with Armstrong back to mobilizing attention, signing copies of his autobiography and racing amid a backdrop of yellow banners and bracelets.

The big difference is that Armstrong, now 37, is not yet a dominant rider and hardly guaranteed to be the dominant rider on his own team, with Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer both set to start their seasons next month. As for the Tour Down Under, after four stages in this six-stage race, Armstrong finds himself sitting 39 seconds off the lead held by Allan Davis, an Australian with the Quick Step team. Davis won the bunched sprint at the finish of the picturesque stage Friday from Burnside Village in Adelaide to Angaston in the Barossa Valley wine country.

Another big difference is that Armstrong, a quintessentially American figure with his Texas accent and Texas-sized ambition, is now racing for a team from the central Asian country of Kazakhstan, which he has never visited.

"Lance was actually supposed to go in December just after our training camp in Tenerife," said Philippe Maertens, Astana's public relations manager. "But Lance had a meeting with Bill Clinton so he could not make it."

The Astana team, named for the capital of Kazakhstan, was created to be the star vehicle for the Kazakh cyclist Aleksandr Vinokourov. But that was before Vinokourov was banned for doping from the 2007 Tour de France and later dismissed from the team.

Enter Bruyneel, who had just retired from the sport after his Discovery Channel team had been dissolved.

"It was only a three-week retirement," said Bruyneel, who said an excellent financial offer was one of the reasons he put a quick end to it. "It was a little bit of everything, really."

Above all, Bruyneel, a former Belgian rider who now lives in Madrid, was brought in to rehabilitate Astana's image. It is an intriguing choice considering the allegations of doping - never supported or sanctioned by cycling authorities - that Armstrong had to contend with during his dominant years.

Astana was barred from the 2008 Tour de France, with organizers citing Vinokourov's suspension as a primary reason. Contador, initially distraught over the snub, went on to win the Tours of Italy and Spain.

Astana plans to return to the world's biggest race this year, and it is still sponsored by a consortium of state-owned companies in Kazakhstan. Ten of the 27 riders on its rosters are Kazakhs, and two of them are here: Maxim Iglinskiy and Assan Bazayev.

But the linguas francas of the team are English, French and Spanish, none of which Iglinskiy and Bazayev speak fluently. Though the team will bring a translator to the bigger tours this season, no translators made the trip here.

"There is not, of course, much communication with them," Morabito said. "But during the race, it's all pretty basic stuff anyway, so it's no problem."

Clearly, though, the stars of this Kazakh-backed team are not the Kazakhs, not with Contador and Armstrong preparing to coexist this season.

"The reason why Lance is on this team is because of our relationship," Bruyneel said. "When we started to talk together, I told him, there's no way you're going to be on another team, and for him it was the same."

"It's different than an American team, but before it was an American team, an American base, but an international team, too," Bruyneel added. "Now circumstances have decided it's a team from Kazakhstan. But it could have been Rabobank or Saxo Bank, and it would have been the same. What's the relation between Lance and Holland, or Lance and Denmark? There is none."

Although Morabito joked that Astana was "U.S. Postal with a new color," only five of Astana's team members have been on Armstrong's previous teams, and only the Spaniard Benjamin Noval, the Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych and, above all, Rubiera have played significant roles on Armstrong's Tour de France teams.

"It is like a time warp in some ways, but there are a lot of new faces out here," said Rubiera, 36. "Lance seems the same to me. Still as motivated, and though it's a big circus out here, it's a big circus that is good for the sport. We're at a time economically where sponsors are difficult to find, and Lance brings in the media and the interest at a moment when cycling really needs it."

He will get no argument from Morabito, 25, who has enjoyed the opportunity (as well as the shade).

"Look, let's face it, you wouldn't be talking to me if Lance weren't here," he said.

The Spanish rider Jesús Hernández, new to Astana this year, took a look around on Friday at the pre-start interest in Armstrong and then shook his head and chuckled.

"If it's this crazy for the Tour Down Under, I can't imagine what it's going to be like for the Tour de France," he said.

News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact person: Zhanbolat Ussenov
Tel.: 202-232-5488 ext 104; Fax: 202-232-5845
E-mail: zhan@kazakhembus.com